KEEPSAKES believed to have been collected by an eminent English missionary in China during the late 19th Century surpassed auctioneer’s estimates by hundreds of pounds at a recent sale.

Some of the mementoes reached more than 25 times their price estimates at the Addisons of Barnard Castle Antiques and Interiors Sale.

The collection – which included a large number of bronze and ceramic objects – are thought to have been brought back to the UK by Reverend Jonathan Lees, of the London Missionary society, who served in Tientsin from 1862 to 1900.

Among the lots was a pair of Chinese bronze dings, or cauldron-like vessels, that soared way above their guide price of £60 to £80, selling for £1,450.

Two other individual bronze dings exceeded their estimates of £60 to £80 a piece, achieving £820 and £680 respectively.

Richard Edwards, senior valuer and auctioneer at Addisons, said: “A significant proportion of these types of objects – bronze dings and yellow ground porcelain – bear marks indicating early dynasties or great age, however, with the current strength of the market for Chinese works of art, many turn out to be later or even modern copies.

“In this particular case, we were informed by the vendor that the items were likely to have been acquired by Rev Lees and being able to mention this possibility in the lot descriptions has been enough to excite the interest of online buyers from across the globe, even though we placed very conservative estimates on each of the pieces.

“The higher value lots all went to US bidders,” he added.